Although this blog is mainly about my experience in Georgia, I do want to chronicle my layover in Munich, because it was so awesome.
We took off late from JFK due to an electrical problem on the plane. As we were waiting I overheard a group of college kids on their way to Florence for a semester abroad talking about people they had met on the plane. One girl mentioned that she had been talking to someone who was going to be teaching in Georgia. I asked her about this person and she offered to introduce me. I ended up meeting five people on the plane who were all going to do TLG, although they went through a different recruiting company. We decided to go into Munich together.
We ended up in Marienplatz, where we decided to stay until noon to watch the Glockenspiel. We ended up falling in with a pay-as-you-want walking tour given by a Scottish expat named Adam. He was a very charismatic tour guide and the tour was fun, despite the intermittent rain. He showed us interesting sites in Munich including the place where the Nazi party was unveiled and where Crystalnacht was announced. Apparently a lot of people who go to Munich are very interested in Nazis.
I, on the other hand, was much more interested in beer. After the tour we went to the Hofbrau Haus, where I had 3.5 liters of beer. The beer was delicious, and the bratwurst was the best I’ve ever had. Munich itself is also a very beautiful city, full of castles and other large, old buildings – at least the Old City where we were. I also got to have my first experience as a tourist – walking around pointing and snapping photos.
In any case, if you like German cuisine and beer, I highly recommend Munich. I also recommend flying there on Lufthansa, which is an extraordinary airline.
On a linguistic note, I was able to understand a lot of the in-flight announcements in German, or at least get the drift, and I could decipher a lot of the German signs as well. And everyone there spoke excellent English.
I also found it a lot less Prussian than I was expecting. Apparently Bavarians are a lot more laid back as a whole, which was quite pleasant. And finally, there was a corner that contained a Lush and a Starbucks, both of which I went into without buying anything just to have a look around. I think it was a nice transition away from American mass culture.
German passport control was also surprisingly easygoing. I thought they’d be at least as dour as the Americans, but they were even mellower than the Canadian border guards at Niagara. I guess when you’re at a heavily trafficked multinational hub it pays to be civil and efficient.